Have you been counting down the days until your college student comes home for break? You’re not alone! For many parents, Thanksgiving will be the first time you see your child since dropping them off on their first day. Thanksgiving is the best time to get some quality bonding in without having to worry about rushing back on Monday morning. However, Thanksgiving break may not be all that you imagine it will be, your child could be expecting you to treat them differently. Here we break down a few situations that might occur during their time at home:
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1. Expect them to want space.
Don’t be surprised if your student isn’t as eager to celebrate being home as you are. Attempting to have it “just as before” may alienate them or make them feel like a child. Instead, give them some leeway. Negotiate curfew times and give them time to go visit with friends or to spend quiet time away from the family.
2. Expect them to be afraid to talk.
Some parents are eager to hear what it is like living in the dorms or going to class in pajamas. However, other parents may make it clear that they do not approve of some college behaviors like staying out late at night or dating. Because of this, some students are hesitant to open up about their first semester in school. If you want to hear about their experiences, allow them to give it to you in doses. Ask more open-ended questions like, “Can you tell me about your favorite class?” or “I know you took that Art History class, did you like the professor?”
3. Expect them to need relaxation.
Expect a lot of sleeping in! College can be stressful and tiring for even the most laid-back student. Taking a nap during the afternoon or wanting to head to bed at 9pm is the norm for returning students. Let them schedule their time home as needed, and give them options on participation. Low-stress is the best way to beat the vacation blues.
How Have an Enjoyable Break with Your Child
Pamper Them (To an Extent)
Offer to do a load of laundry or to help them get to the airport. It’s the little comforts that make students excited to come back to see mom and dad.
Your college student will likely still want to participate in cutting the turkey or watching your favorite holiday movie. Just because they moved out doesn’t mean you should stop with beloved traditions!
Keep it Low-Pressure
Putting too much emphasis on spending time together or making this holiday perfect may make your college student feel unwelcome. Plus, with finals around the corner and huge projects due, adding stress to their plate may make it worse for them.
Be Thankful for Their Achievements
Take a moment out of the busy holiday break to express your thankfulness for their hard work at school. Tell them how proud you are of their first semester back or that you look forward to seeing them in the next theater production. These little moments make the breaks memorable.